Senate Urges FG to Suspend Electricity Tariff Increase

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SWITZERLAND, MAY 20 – The Senate on Tuesday asked the Federal Government to suspend its plan to increase electricity tariffs in the country due to increased hardship occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The house also identified the need for the government to consider a comprehensive review of the power privatisation policy with a view to reversing the current arrangement.

The red chamber said Nigerians would not enjoy stable power supply in the next 10 years if the activities of the distribution companies were not reviewed and restructured.

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, stated this on Tuesday after the Senate had considered and approved a motion by Senator Gabriel Suswan on the power sector recovery plan.

He said, “We gave power to them (power generation and distribution companies) and they still come to the public to ask for funds.

“I think it’s time for Nigeria to consider reversing the privatisation of the power sector or they should just cancel the entire privatisation process completely.

“If we leave it, we may not have power for another 10 years.”

Lawan said, “The privatisation of the power sector has, so far, not been successful. We expected efficiency and effectiveness in the power supply.

“The Discos have no capacity to supply us power. The Gencos have challenges too.

“It is not a good commentary that we should continue to give them money. They’re private businesses. We need to review this privatisation.

“Our committee needs to investigate trillions spent. That’s a lot of money.

“Try to find out what has happened so far. The government needs to look at this whole thing.

“Maybe, government is not doing its own part. We need to find out.
“There is lack of capital, lack of investment. We feel very bad because we have no electricity and the country is suffering.”

The upper chamber commended the Federal Government for the proactive initiative to establish the N1.7tn Covid-19 crisis intervention fund to cater for critical issues on effective management of the pandemic.

Suswam, had while leading debate on the general principles of the bill, said stable and uninterrupted power supply was also a critical factor in management of COVID-19 pandemic patients at the designated isolation and treatment centres across the country

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